Back in Florida!
Where everything is GREEN!!
I get lost in New York. Not just New York, I get lost in CITIES. I think it’s because I can’t see much of the sky. Just those metal and glass canyon walls that all look alike. No LAND-marks for me to follow. No hills or streams or rock formations.
Just concrete paths and vertical silver pillars.
But I’m back now, flying home on the tail of the solar eclipse. Watching the sunlight re-appear. Home to the Sunshine state—where it is raining.
What did I learn in New York? Besides feeling squashed by the CITY-scape?
Mostly I learned that writing, like everything else these days, is a BUSINESS. The writer must become a hustler. And the self-pimping must be clever, constant, and callous.
Okay. Maybe I’m feeling a wee bit cynical, but that IS the main message I got from three days of attending sessions packed with eager participants hoping to catch a big wave. Or at least a swell. The session leaders were charming, funny, slick, and entertaining. Most of them were under forty. They had professional power-points and lots of stats. They dressed in appropriate fashions. They did not wear hats.
However, they DID offer lots of advice. Here are the takeaway points from the sessions I attended:
- You must have a PLATFORM. It used to be that this was important only if you wrote non-fiction, but now everyone must have one. It’s all about
- Agents and publishers want to be sure that you have credibility (inspire trust), visibility (are being noticed) and reach (can grab people).
- Your platform helps to project your brand, your logo, your personal identification symbol. So, it needs a unique look. People should recognize it immediately. Everything should have the look: your website, book jacket, business card. You have 1/10 of a second to grab the viewer’s attention, so keep it strong and simple.
- The platform is the public face that you craft and build to construct an authentic on-line personality, and to attract interest from agents, the media, TV, film, bloggers, readers and other strategic partners. To further engage your audience, you can add e-mailing lists/newsletter, social media (especially Facebook and Twitter), and a blog.
- Which brings us to BLOGS. No matter which session I attended, I found blogs lurking there. I learned that “blog” is short for “weblog,” and actually is defined as “a frequently updated online personal journal or diary” (blogbasics.com). It is a “place for sharing your thoughts and passions.” Specifically, it was advised that blogs should be:
- Post once a week. On a certain day. This is so people will start looking for your latest post and know when to expect it.
- Have a theme, but provide variations within that theme.
- Solicit The idea is to connect with your readers/partners, not to just talk to yourself.
- Choose a title that is a key word that will lead to your book—a topic, a name, an organization, an event.
- Use the blog to promote not just yourself, but also other writers, or groups/organizations that you belong to or work with, causes that are important to you, ideas that people can use.
- And finally, WEBSITES. According to Jane Friedman, author of Publishing 101: A First-time Author’s Guide, a website is “your story about yourself.” And especially about your writing. Jane recommends that your website should include:
- An excellent home page that establishes your Customize this page to make it reflect your personality/passions by selecting particular colors, fonts, images. etc. Also be sure that photos and/or other visuals relate to your brand.
- An official/formal bio (written in third-person).
- An “unofficial”/informal bio (written in first-person).
- Contact information.
- An events/news page.
- A press kit.
- How/where to purchase your books.
- Other service/content such as your blog, classes, resources, etc.
- Avoid: small text, sliders, , too many confusing images, pop-ups and auto-play, font/text that is difficult to read.
For additional information you can go to https://bit.ly/wdc17-jane. .